Loudoun County Courts
Being charged with a criminal offense is often overwhelming, frightening, and confusing. Each step of the ensuing legal process has many nuances, meaning that having knowledge of Loudoun County courts might help a person charged with a crime to understand their rights, answer their questions, and decide how to proceed.
If you were charged with an offense—or if you suspect you are under investigation—reaching out to a proactive lawyer might prove to be beneficial. By discussing your unique situation with a legal professional, you could have a valuable guide explain your rights, discuss your options, and work tirelessly to get the best results possible under the circumstances.
What to Expect After Being Arrested
In Loudoun County, the processes for being taken to jail depends on why the individual is being arrested. If they are being taken to jail for a drug or alcohol-related offense, for example, and they still are under the influence, they should expect to be placed in a holding cell until they are sober enough to understand the legal proceedings and be presented to the magistrate.
On the other hand, if someone is taken to jail on a warrant for a charge that is not serious enough to warrant a secured bond, they should expect to be presented to the magistrate in a timely manner. No matter the circumstances, however, the magistrate makes a decision on an initial bond determination. If, for example, someone is arrested on a more serious offense, they should expect that the magistrate may hold them without bond.
Under these circumstances, they would be initially placed in a holding area and then transferred to a pretrial population within the jail. In Loudoun County, the jail is also known as the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center, which is located on Loudoun Center Parkway off of Sycolin Road. This is located by the Leesburg Airport, the Virginia State Police Barracks, the County Bus Depot, and several other resource buildings, including the Fire Training Center.
The Booking Process in Loudoun County
The booking process means that, after a person is arrested, a person is searched for weapons or contraband. Then, their information is taken, including their name, address, known aliases, as well as their identifiers—such as height, weight, scars, tattoos. All of this information is recorded in a database. After this, the arresting officer fills out a warrant of arrest and presents it to the magistrate.
In Loudoun County, all the courts are located at the same physical address within the Loudoun County Courthouse Complex. This is located at the corner of the historic Market Street and King Street in Downtown Leesburg. The street address of the courthouse complex is 18 East Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia 20176. Within the Loudoun County Courthouse Complex, the General District Court is located on the first floor, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court is located farther down the hallway on the same first floor, and the Loudoun County Circuit Court is located on the second.
How Bond Works
In Virginia, bond is governed by Virginia Code § 19.2-120 and its subsequent code sections. Simply put, bond is the ability for someone to be released, pending their trial, when they are charged with a criminal offense. Under this statute, certain persons are presumed to be entitled to a reasonable bond.
Essentially all persons are presumed to be entitled to reasonable bond, unless there is a stated presumption against it. The most common presumption cases, for example, are for repeat offenses, offenses committed while someone is on bond for another felony, or violent offenses. When someone’s case becomes a presumption case, they should discuss with their attorney how these presumptions may be overcome.
If a case is not one of presumption, however, but is a case in which a bond determination may still be an issue, it is also important to discuss the specific factors that the court considers when making a determination. Often, a well-versed attorney could help to determine how to best present evidence at a bond motion, in order to give their client a better chance of being granted a bond.
Preparing for Court in Loudoun County
People should take a professional attitude towards their appearance in court. Often, individuals appear in court dressed far too casually and without giving the court the appropriate level of respect and deference. Showing a respectful demeanor, attitude, and adequate level of preparation might have a significant impact on how the courts view a person’s case, as well as how they treat them. Naturally, this all means that anyone charged with an offense should not appear aggressive, angry, or vindictive during the ensuing process.
In some cases, a judge or prosecutor reviewing the case may only have a charging document, and therefore, does not know much about the person when they make an initial court appearance. Because of this, appearing professional and courteous to the court and its participants, the person charged with an offense could earn the respect of the court and the prosecution. Beyond attitude, appropriate dress, behavior, and language are all important elements for anyone facing the Loudoun County court system.
The Criminal Court System
Anyone arrested should also understand where the first steps of the legal process will take place. For example, when someone is arrested on a warrant and charged with an initial offense, they are first presented to the appropriate Loudoun County District Court. For most individuals, this means their case originates in the Loudoun County General District Court (GDC). The GDC occupies Courtrooms 1C and 1D for criminal cases.
If the alleged victim in the case is a family member, a relative, or a child—or if there are certain other factors that make it fall within the purview of a family court—the case may originate in the Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR). That court is located in Courtroom 1A and Courtroom 1B in the Loudoun County Courthouse Complex.
On the other hand, if an individual’s case is the subject of a direct indictment, meaning it originated before a grand jury, or if it is a felony matter set for trial, it is heard by the Loudoun County Circuit Court. The Loudoun County Circuit Court is located in Courtrooms 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D on the circuit court floor, which is the second floor of the Loudoun County Courthouse Complex.
Being Charged with a Criminal Offense While Visiting Loudoun County
Sometimes, criminal offenses are committed by individuals who reside outside of Loudoun County. However, out-of-state defendants should understand that Loudoun County and the Commonwealth of Virginia may treat their offense differently than their home state would. This is especially true if someone is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, driving without a license, or misdemeanor drug offenses. This is because many other states do not have the same degree of penalties for these offenses as Virginia does.
Specifically, for Loudoun County, a number of out-of-state defendants are named due to its close proximity to West Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, and many attractions and tourist shopping destinations. Unfortunately, when people visit, they sometimes incur criminal charges and find themselves required to return to Loudoun County to face the criminal justice system.
When individuals are charged with crimes in the County, it is important to contact a well-practiced defense attorney immediately. This way, an individual can understand their charges and the related consequences of their actions. Then, a legal professional could help to determine what they can do to best mitigate their circumstances and defend their case.
Legal Elements to Understand About the Loudoun County Justice System
The manner in which Virginia handles larceny offenses, drug offenses, and driving offenses are the three main areas that individuals should be concerned with if they are not familiar with the laws of Loudoun County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Furthermore, for anyone dealing with the court system in Loudoun County for the first time, it is important to understand that it is an adversarial system. Simply put, the parties on different sides for a criminal case are the:
- Commonwealth of Virginia represented by the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office
- Individual charged with the commission of an offense in Loudoun County represented by their own attorney
The attorney may be a court-appointed attorney, a public defender, or a private attorney who practice in the appropriate area of criminal defense. No matter the circumstances, however, the defense attorney should represent the best interests of their clients. However, not all attorneys work collaboratively to seek the best outcome for a defendant. Because of this, it is important to have an attorney who is knowledgeable about the defense process, as well as one who listens to their client.
How Charges are Different in Loudoun County Courts
Often, out-of-state drivers are surprised by the consequences of a charge for reckless driving in Loudoun County. This is because one of the most common legal elements visitors to the County and the Commonwealth of Virginia might not know is that Virginia makes reckless driving—which is driving over 80 miles an hour or more than 20 miles an hour over the speed limit—a Class 1 misdemeanor. Other Class 1 misdemeanors are any matter that endangers life, limb, or property of oneself or another, as well as crossing on a double-yellow, or passing a school bus.
Depending on the offense, a Class 1 misdemeanor could lead to jail time, high fines, a criminal record, as well as the termination of one’s privilege to drive in Virginia. Furthermore, Virginia still considers possession of all drugs to be a criminal offense, including marijuana. Beyond this, Virginia has some of the lowest thresholds to make felony offenses out of larceny cases within the United States.
Essentially, prior to July 1, 2018, the felony threshold for larceny was only $200. Therefore, if someone was charged with shoplifting from a Loudoun County business in excess of $200, they could receive a felony offense. Now, Virginia has since increased many of its larceny thresholds to $500. However, this is still lower than in most states. Additionally, the threshold for grand larceny is still $500, which is not often easy to reach if a person is involved in a criminal larceny activity. The charge of grand larceny is known as an unclassified felony in the state, which is punishable by one to 20 years in prison, or up to 12 months in jail.
How an Attorney Might Help
If you were charged with a criminal infraction, the notion of navigating the legal system is often intimidating. However, retaining a persistent and credible lawyer who is familiar with Loudoun County courts might help to put your mind at ease.
An adept attorney could, for example, help you to present yourself with proper decorum during the court proceedings. Furthermore, a legal professional could then assess your circumstances and discuss how to best proceed. To begin building your defense, call an attorney today.